musings on mixed martial arts, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and all things mano-a-mano
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Posts from — November 2011

Video: the Chael Sonnen of rap music

Kansas City rapper Mac Lethal (aka David McCleary Sheldon) makes some pancakes while spitting rhymes about Lyoto Machida front kicks.

November 30, 2011   No Comments

Is The Ultimate Fighter worth saving?

Tonight mark’s the final episode of the final season of The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV and Saturday will see Spike’s last TUF Finale, featuring coaching loudmouths Jason “Mayhem” Miller and Michael Bisping. The next season, season 15, will air on Fox’s FX channel with live weekly fights. I’ve no idea if the new format on the new channel will attract new fans. I’m not sure there are any new fans to attract, actually, because every sport reaches a saturation point eventually.

What I do know is that I haven’t been a regular TUF viewer since season four, with semi-regular viewing of the heavyweight season. I usually only watch the first episode or two to see the opening round of fights to get into the house, which often involve knockouts or TKOs and some sloppy-yet-entertaining fisticuffs, which isn’t that different than watching the first episode of American Idol to see the horrible auditions. TUF is indeed a stale format with weak competition that produces few future UFC title contenders. It’s a talent show without a whole lot of talent, which is something that ESPN’s Josh Gross gets into when he asks why MMA fans should bother paying attention to the show any more. It’s a good read and worth your time.

November 30, 2011   No Comments

Anderson Silva doc Like Water looks shallow

The more I see of the Anderson Silva documentary Like Water, the less interested I am in actually watching the whole thing. I just don’t see any insight into Silva’s personality, character, motivations, etc. being delivered. No depth. I guess that’s what I’m sensing.

November 30, 2011   No Comments

“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey’s Chael Sonnen impression might help save women’s MMA

While Chael Sonnen is busy trading insults with ring card beauty in Arianny Celeste (insults that are funny but wrong, I might add), Ronda Rousey is busy doing her best Sonnen impression. The Strikeforce upstart is throwing out challenges to 135-pound champ Meisha Tate despite having only four pro fights under her belt. Granted, the Olympic judoka won all four of those fights by armbar in less than a minute, including snapping Julia Budd’s elbow just two weeks ago.

Both fighters appeared on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani this week and Rousey wasted no time throwing down the gauntlet while throwing former champ and potential contender Sarah Kaufman under the bus for good measure:

“Sarah Kaufman kind of gives boring interviews, she’s not a supermodel and the way she fights, she doesn’t finish matches in extraordinary fashion. It’s just kind of being realistic. I’m sorry that I have to say things bluntly and offend some people. I just want there to be a highly marketable, exciting women’s title fight, and I want to be part of that because I feel like I could do a really good job, and you could, too. I think the two of us could do a better job of that than you and Sarah Kaufman. I really feel 100-percent that a fight between her and me needs to happen. It’ll be great for women’s MMA. It’ll be the first highly anticipated fight in women’s MMA for a long time.”

Rousey must’ve missed Kaufman’s power-slam KO of Roxanne Modafferi, which certainly showed she knows how to finish a fight in exciting fashion. But she has a point that brash soundbites and beauty make women’s MMA more marketable. As Tate said, “If you weren’t pretty, it wouldn’t matter what you said or didn’t say. That’s why you’re getting this attention. I don’t know, I guess I personally like more of a humble approach.”

So while Tate would prefer a rematch with former champ Kaufman, and vice versa, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to give Rousey the title shot. Women’s MMA is on life support. It’s two biggest stars are nowhere to be found — Gina Carano is off making movies and Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos can’t seem to get a fight for a lack of 145-pound challengers.  Sonnen has already proven that having an abrasive personality can excite interest in a match-up. So let Rousey run with the smack talk, but maybe give her a title shot against Cyborg, not Tate, because I just don’t see her ripping the Brazilian’s arm off.

November 30, 2011   No Comments

GSP trains with Vitor Belfort

Georges St. Pierre training with Vitor Belfort tells me that GSP is out to finish Nick Diaz when they meet at UFC 143. No winning-by-attrition tactics. GSP wants to end it before the judges do. Belfort is a beast, one of the most-explosive strikers in the sport, a real rat-a-tat puncher, none of that patty-cake punching style Diaz relies on. And Belfort has newly minted middleweight Anthony Johnson at UFC 142 so I’m sure he’s picking up a bit of wrestling from GSP.

November 29, 2011   No Comments

Chris Leben tests positive for Oxy

It’s no surprise that Chris Leben tested positive for Oxycodone and Oxymorphone following his UFC 138 loss at the hands of Mark Munoz. Not because it’s his second positive drug test (the first was for Stanozolol following his Michael Bisping bout). It’s surprising that more fighters don’t test positive for painkillers.

The abuse that a fighter’s body takes during training is severe, and the pain and damage can be cumulative, to the point that popping a pill just to get through the day is a way of life, a way to dull the pain, to relax the body and the mind, to cope. No, it’s not like that for all fighters, or even most fighters, but for some absolutely. Leben is a stand-and-bang wild man who’s absorbed more than his share of punishment in the cage and I can only imagine what he’s gone through during training. He’s been down this road before, though, with failed drug tests and DUI arrests, so it certainly speaks to a larger issue than just having a boo-boo that hurts. But it’s not as though Leben is some rare case. I think we’d be surprised to find out who else would fail a random drug test. Maybe his one-year suspension will help him figure things out.

Here’s the statement Leben released this afternoon after the suspension was announced by the UFC:

“I would like to make it known that I fully accept this suspension and apologize for embarrassing the UFC, my friends and family, and sport of mixed martial arts. I’m learning that I’m my own worst enemy sometimes. I can’t succeed in the Octagon or in life behaving this way. I’ve got to make some real changes over the next year and I’m going to focus on getting my life and career back on track. Again, I’m sorry to the UFC and fans that’ve supported me since my days on The Ultimate Fighter.”

November 29, 2011   2 Comments

Monday’s best reason to read Fighting Words: Holly Holm

I could try to make the argument that this post is about Jon Jones working on his striking in preparation for his UFC 140 light heavyweight title defense against Lyoto Machida. But really it’s about a hot blond who can give (and take) a punch. I could watch world boxing champ and MMA fighter Holly Holm throw jabs in tight shorts all day. And those freckles are so adorable.

November 28, 2011   No Comments

Video: Marius Zaromskis delivers the best head kick of 2011

Marius Zaromskis has scored a few memorable head kick knockouts in his career. Hayato Sakurai, Jason High and Ho Bae Myeong all come to mind. But this cartwheel kick to the skull of Bruno Carvallo at Saturday’s K-1: Rumble of the Kings 6 in Stockholm, Sweden, takes the cake. It’s actually kind of a forward roll into an axe kick or a somersaulting heel kick or, well, just watch and decide for yourself. It certainly beats Anderson Silva’s and Lyoto Machida’s Steven Seagal-inspired front kicks in terms of athleticism and impact, although I’m not sure it ranks up there with Anthony Pettis’s off-the-cage kick to Ben Henderson but it’s close, and unlike Pettis, Zaromskis makes short work of his opponent afterward.

November 27, 2011   No Comments

Chael Sonnen’s mouth to meet Mark Munoz’s fists on Fox

With Anderson Silva on the shelf with a shoulder injury, Chael Sonnen isn’t going to be sitting around waiting for their June rematch in Brazil, not when there are other opponents he can trash talk. Like Mark Munoz, for example. Sonnen and Munoz are both coming off big wins and will square off on the second UFC on Fox event January 28. It makes sense not to have either of them waiting around for Silva. It also makes sense to have Sonnen on the second Fox card so he can bring attention to it with his verbal attacks. He’s a one-man quote machine. Now the UFC needs to add a second better fight to the card to truly make it worth watching. Sonnen can’t do all the heavy lifting by himself.

November 24, 2011   1 Comment

Would you let Wanderlei Silva knee you in the face for $420,000?

Why was Cung Le the highest-paid fighter at UFC 139? I get that he deserves some serious coin for getting his face rearranged by Wanderlei Silva, but it’s shocking that he would pocket $420,000, including a $70,000 Fight of the Night bonus, while Silva took home just $270,000, including bonus. Or that Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Dan Henderson would earn $235,000 and $320,000 (both including a $70,000 Fight of the Night bonus), respectively, and they earned every penny of it. Of course, these are just the official figures and don’t include any locker room bonuses the UFC may have handed out. Maybe the money is for Le’s retirement fund.

November 23, 2011   No Comments

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